Publications by authors named "Thomas W A Braukmann"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Assessment of stream macroinvertebrate communities with eDNA is not congruent with tissue-based metabarcoding.

Mol Ecol 2021 07 8;30(13):3239-3251. Epub 2020 Sep 8.

Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

Freshwater biomonitoring programmes routinely sample aquatic macroinvertebrates. These samples are time-consuming to collect, as well as challenging and costly to identify reliably genus or species. Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding has emerged as a surrogate to traditional collection techniques and has been used in whole-community approaches across several taxa and ecosystems. However, the usefulness of eDNA-based detection of freshwater macroinvertebrates has not been extensively explored. Few studies have directly compared bulk sample and eDNA metabarcoding at a local scale to assess how effective each method is at characterizing aquatic macroinvertebrate communities. Here, we collected both eDNA and kicknet samples at the same sample transect locations across nine different streams in southern Ontario, Canada. We observed minimal overlap in community composition between these paired samples. Bulk tissue metabarcoding resulted in a greater proportion of sequences belonging to metazoan taxa (over 99%) than eDNA (12%) and had higher OTU richness for macroinvertebrate taxa. We suggest that degenerate primers are not effective for eDNA metabarcoding due to the high degree of nontarget amplification and subsequently low yield of target DNA. While both bulk sample and eDNA metabarcoding had the power to detect differences between stream communities, eDNA did not represent local communities. Bulk tissue metabarcoding thus provides a more accurate representation of local stream macroinvertebrate communities and is the preferred method if smaller-scale spatial resolution is an important factor in data analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.15597DOI Listing
July 2021

Validation of COI metabarcoding primers for terrestrial arthropods.

PeerJ 2019 7;7:e7745. Epub 2019 Oct 7.

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.

Metabarcoding can rapidly determine the species composition of bulk samples and thus aids biodiversity and ecosystem assessment. However, it is essential to use primer sets that minimize amplification bias among taxa to maximize species recovery. Despite this fact, the performance of primer sets employed for metabarcoding terrestrial arthropods has not been sufficiently evaluated. This study tests the performance of 36 primer sets on a mock community containing 374 insect species. Amplification success was assessed with gradient PCRs and the 21 most promising primer sets selected for metabarcoding. These 21 primer sets were also tested by metabarcoding a Malaise trap sample. We identified eight primer sets, mainly those including inosine and/or high degeneracy, that recovered more than 95% of the species in the mock community. Results from the Malaise trap sample were congruent with the mock community, but primer sets generating short amplicons produced potential false positives. Taxon recovery from both mock community and Malaise trap sample metabarcoding were used to select four primer sets for additional evaluation at different annealing temperatures (40-60 °C) using the mock community. The effect of temperature varied by primer pair but overall it only had a minor effect on taxon recovery. This study reveals the weak performance of some primer sets employed in past studies. It also demonstrates that certain primer sets can recover most taxa in a diverse species assemblage. Thus, based our experimental set up, there is no need to employ several primer sets targeting the same gene region. We identify several suitable primer sets for arthropod metabarcoding, and specifically recommend BF3 + BR2, as it is not affected by primer slippage and provides maximal taxonomic resolution. The fwhF2 + fwhR2n primer set amplifies a shorter fragment and is therefore ideal when targeting degraded DNA (e.g., from gut contents).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7745DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6786254PMC
October 2019

Metabarcoding a diverse arthropod mock community.

Mol Ecol Resour 2019 May;19(3):711-727

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Although DNA metabarcoding is an attractive approach for monitoring biodiversity, it is often difficult to detect all the species present in a bulk sample. In particular, sequence recovery for a given species depends on its biomass and mitome copy number as well as the primer set employed for PCR. To examine these variables, we constructed a mock community of terrestrial arthropods comprised of 374 species. We used this community to examine how species recovery was impacted when amplicon pools were constructed in four ways. The first two protocols involved the construction of bulk DNA extracts from different body segments (Bulk Abdomen, Bulk Leg). The other protocols involved the production of DNA extracts from single legs which were then merged prior to PCR (Composite Leg) or PCR-amplified separately (Single Leg) and then pooled. The amplicons generated by these four treatments were then sequenced on three platforms (Illumina MiSeq, Ion Torrent PGM and Ion Torrent S5). The choice of sequencing platform did not substantially influence species recovery, although the Miseq delivered the highest sequence quality. As expected, species recovery was most efficient from the Single Leg treatment because amplicon abundance varied little among taxa. Among the three treatments where PCR occurred after pooling, the Bulk Abdomen treatment produced a more uniform read abundance than the Bulk Leg or Composite Leg treatment. Primer choice also influenced species recovery and evenness. Our results reveal how variation in protocols can have substantial impacts on perceived diversity unless sequencing coverage is sufficient to reach an asymptote.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.13008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6850013PMC
May 2019

Finding the pond through the weeds: eDNA reveals underestimated diversity of pondweeds.

Appl Plant Sci 2018 May 5;6(5):e01155. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics University of Guelph 50 Stone Road East Guelph Ontario N1G2W1 Canada.

Premise Of The Study: The detection of environmental DNA (eDNA) using high-throughput sequencing has rapidly emerged as a method to detect organisms from environmental samples. However, eDNA studies of aquatic biomes have focused on surveillance of animal species with less emphasis on plants. Pondweeds are important bioindicators of freshwater ecosystems, although their diversity is underestimated due to difficulties in morphological identification and monitoring.

Methods: A protocol was developed to detect pondweeds in water samples using - and ITS2 markers. The water samples were collected from the Grand River within the rare Charitable Research Reserve, Ontario (RARE). Short fragments were amplified using primers targeting pondweeds, sequenced on an Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine, and assigned to the taxonomy using a local DNA reference library and GenBank.

Results: We detected two species earlier documented at the experimental site during ecological surveys ( and ) and three species new to the RARE checklist (, , and ).

Discussion: Our targeted approach to track the species composition of pondweeds in freshwater ecosystems revealed underestimation of their diversity. This result suggests that eDNA is an effective tool for monitoring plant diversity in aquatic habitats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aps3.1155DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5991581PMC
May 2018

A Sequel to Sanger: amplicon sequencing that scales.

BMC Genomics 2018 Mar 27;19(1):219. Epub 2018 Mar 27.

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada.

Background: Although high-throughput sequencers (HTS) have largely displaced their Sanger counterparts, the short read lengths and high error rates of most platforms constrain their utility for amplicon sequencing. The present study tests the capacity of single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing implemented on the SEQUEL platform to overcome these limitations, employing 658 bp amplicons of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene as a model system.

Results: By examining templates from more than 5000 species and 20,000 specimens, the performance of SMRT sequencing was tested with amplicons showing wide variation in GC composition and varied sequence attributes. SMRT and Sanger sequences were very similar, but SMRT sequencing provided more complete coverage, especially for amplicons with homopolymer tracts. Because it can characterize amplicon pools from 10,000 DNA extracts in a single run, the SEQUEL can reduce greatly reduce sequencing costs in comparison to first (Sanger) and second generation platforms (Illumina, Ion).

Conclusions: SMRT analysis generates high-fidelity sequences from amplicons with varying GC content and is resilient to homopolymer tracts. Analytical costs are low, substantially less than those for first or second generation sequencers. When implemented on the SEQUEL platform, SMRT analysis enables massive amplicon characterization because each instrument can recover sequences from more than 5 million DNA extracts a year.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-018-4611-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5870082PMC
March 2018

Using herbarium-derived DNAs to assemble a large-scale DNA barcode library for the vascular plants of Canada.

Appl Plant Sci 2017 Dec 22;5(12). Epub 2017 Dec 22.

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.

Premise Of The Study: Constructing complete, accurate plant DNA barcode reference libraries can be logistically challenging for large-scale floras. Here we demonstrate the promise and challenges of using herbarium collections for building a DNA barcode reference library for the vascular plant flora of Canada.

Methods: Our study examined 20,816 specimens representing 5076 of 5190 vascular plant species in Canada (98%). For 98% of the specimens, at least one of the DNA barcode regions was recovered from the plastid loci and and from the nuclear ITS2 region. We used beta regression to quantify the effects of age, type of preservation, and taxonomic affiliation (family) on DNA sequence recovery.

Results: Specimen age and method of preservation had significant effects on sequence recovery for all markers, but influenced some families more (e.g., Boraginaceae) than others (e.g., Asteraceae).

Discussion: Our DNA barcode library represents an unparalleled resource for metagenomic and ecological genetic research working on temperate and arctic biomes. An observed decline in sequence recovery with specimen age may be associated with poor primer matches, intragenomic variation (for ITS2), or inhibitory secondary compounds in some taxa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3732/apps.1700079DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5749818PMC
December 2017

Escaping introns in COI through cDNA barcoding of mushrooms: as a test case.

Ecol Evol 2017 09 29;7(17):6972-6980. Epub 2017 Jul 29.

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics University of Guelph Guelph ON Canada.

DNA barcoding involves the use of one or more short, standardized DNA fragments for the rapid identification of species. A 648-bp segment near the 5' terminus of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene has been adopted as the universal DNA barcode for members of the animal kingdom, but its utility in mushrooms is complicated by the frequent occurrence of large introns. As a consequence, ITS has been adopted as the standard DNA barcode marker for mushrooms despite several shortcomings. This study employed newly designed primers coupled with cDNA analysis to examine COI sequence diversity in six species of and compared these results with those for ITS. The ability of the COI gene to discriminate six species of , the commonly cultivated oyster mushroom, was examined by analysis of cDNA. The amplification success, sequence variation within and among species, and the ability to design effective primers was tested. We compared ITS sequences to their COI cDNA counterparts for all isolates. ITS discriminated between all six species, but some sequence results were uninterpretable, because of length variation among ITS copies. By comparison, a complete COI sequences were recovered from all but three individuals of where only the 5' region was obtained. The COI sequences permitted the resolution of all species when partial data was excluded for . Our results suggest that COI can be a useful barcode marker for mushrooms when cDNA analysis is adopted, permitting identifications in cases where ITS cannot be recovered or where it offers higher resolution when fresh tissue is. The suitability of this approach remains to be confirmed for other mushrooms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3049DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587487PMC
September 2017

On the brink: the highly reduced plastomes of nonphotosynthetic Ericaceae.

New Phytol 2017 Oct 21;216(1):254-266. Epub 2017 Jul 21.

Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 43212-1157, USA.

Ericaceae (the heather family) is a large and diverse group of plants that forms elaborate symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi, and includes several nonphotosynthetic lineages. Using an extensive sample of fully mycoheterotrophic (MH) species, we explored inter- and intraspecific variation as well as selective constraints acting on the plastomes of these unusual plants. The plastomes of seven MH genera were analysed in a phylogenetic context with two geographically disparate individuals sequenced for Allotropa, Monotropa, and Pityopus. The plastomes of nonphotosynthetic Ericaceae are highly reduced in size (c. 33-41 kbp) and content, having lost all photosynthesis-related genes, and are reduced to encoding housekeeping genes as well as a protease subunit (clpP)-like and acetyl-CoA carboxylase subunit D (accD)-like open reading frames. Despite an increase in the rate of their nucleotide substitutions, the remaining protein-coding genes are typically under purifying selection in full MHs. We also identified ribosomal proteins under relaxed or neutral selection. These plastomes also exhibit striking structural rearrangements. Intraspecific variation within MH Ericaceae ranges from a few differences (Allotropa) to extensive population divergences (Monotropa, Hypopitys), which indicates that cryptic speciation may be occurring in several lineages. The pattern of gene loss within fully MH Ericaceae plastomes suggests an advanced state of degradation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nph.14681DOI Listing
October 2017

Testing the Efficacy of DNA Barcodes for Identifying the Vascular Plants of Canada.

PLoS One 2017 10;12(1):e0169515. Epub 2017 Jan 10.

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Their relatively slow rates of molecular evolution, as well as frequent exposure to hybridization and introgression, often make it difficult to discriminate species of vascular plants with the standard barcode markers (rbcL, matK, ITS2). Previous studies have examined these constraints in narrow geographic or taxonomic contexts, but the present investigation expands analysis to consider the performance of these gene regions in discriminating the species in local floras at sites across Canada. To test identification success, we employed a DNA barcode reference library with sequence records for 96% of the 5108 vascular plant species known from Canada, but coverage varied from 94% for rbcL to 60% for ITS2 and 39% for matK. Using plant lists from 27 national parks and one scientific reserve, we tested the efficacy of DNA barcodes in identifying the plants in simulated species assemblages from six biogeographic regions of Canada using BLAST and mothur. Mean pairwise distance (MPD) and mean nearest taxon distance (MNTD) were strong predictors of barcode performance for different plant families and genera, and both metrics supported ITS2 as possessing the highest genetic diversity. All three genes performed strongly in assigning the taxa present in local floras to the correct genus with values ranging from 91% for rbcL to 97% for ITS2 and 98% for matK. However, matK delivered the highest species discrimination (~81%) followed by ITS2 (~72%) and rbcL (~44%). Despite the low number of plant taxa in the Canadian Arctic, DNA barcodes had the least success in discriminating species from this biogeographic region with resolution ranging from 36% with rbcL to 69% with matK. Species resolution was higher in the other settings, peaking in the Woodland region at 52% for rbcL and 87% for matK. Our results indicate that DNA barcoding is very effective in identifying Canadian plants to a genus, and that it performs well in discriminating species in regions where floristic diversity is highest.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0169515PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5224991PMC
August 2017

Authentication of Herbal Supplements Using Next-Generation Sequencing.

PLoS One 2016 26;11(5):e0156426. Epub 2016 May 26.

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Background: DNA-based testing has been gaining acceptance as a tool for authentication of a wide range of food products; however, its applicability for testing of herbal supplements remains contentious.

Methods: We utilized Sanger and Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) for taxonomic authentication of fifteen herbal supplements representing three different producers from five medicinal plants: Echinacea purpurea, Valeriana officinalis, Ginkgo biloba, Hypericum perforatum and Trigonella foenum-graecum. Experimental design included three modifications of DNA extraction, two lysate dilutions, Internal Amplification Control, and multiple negative controls to exclude background contamination. Ginkgo supplements were also analyzed using HPLC-MS for the presence of active medicinal components.

Results: All supplements yielded DNA from multiple species, rendering Sanger sequencing results for rbcL and ITS2 regions either uninterpretable or non-reproducible between the experimental replicates. Overall, DNA from the manufacturer-listed medicinal plants was successfully detected in seven out of eight dry herb form supplements; however, low or poor DNA recovery due to degradation was observed in most plant extracts (none detected by Sanger; three out of seven-by NGS). NGS also revealed a diverse community of fungi, known to be associated with live plant material and/or the fermentation process used in the production of plant extracts. HPLC-MS testing demonstrated that Ginkgo supplements with degraded DNA contained ten key medicinal components.

Conclusion: Quality control of herbal supplements should utilize a synergetic approach targeting both DNA and bioactive components, especially for standardized extracts with degraded DNA. The NGS workflow developed in this study enables reliable detection of plant and fungal DNA and can be utilized by manufacturers for quality assurance of raw plant materials, contamination control during the production process, and the final product. Interpretation of results should involve an interdisciplinary approach taking into account the processes involved in production of herbal supplements, as well as biocomplexity of plant-plant and plant-fungal biological interactions.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0156426PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882080PMC
July 2017
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